Monday, March 22, 2010

Aristotle's Warning

Aristotle lived in a time of change, where governments and constitutions were fluid. He documented his studies of these governments in his book "Politics". Our democracy is in trouble and we need to take heed.

To many otherwise innocent American voters, "change" likely meant the change from Bush-era recession to a vibrant new Obama-era prosperity. But when candidate and President Obama began stirring up class warfare against Wall Street, bankers, insurance companies, and the "rich," my instincts led me to Aristotle, who saw and wrote about various populist "demagogues" and their effect on democratic society many times during his lifetime in Athens.

Democracies, says Aristotle, tend to be pulled in one direction: toward a vilification of everything involving merit, hierarchy, inequality, proportion, and worth. For Aristotle, this type of democratic "energy" actually begins at birth: "People are prone to think that the fact of their all being equally free-born means that they are all absolutely equal."

The duty of a mature legislator and statesman, says Aristotle, is to spend much of his time pulling his country in the opposite direction from where the righteous wind tends to blow in a democracy. That means blocking legislation that undermines the ability of talented, qualified, and hardworking individuals to receive the benefit of their exertions in due proportion.
Read the American Thinker article here.

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